Antonio Conte has laughed off the suggestion that Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata needs to add more variety to his finishing after Eden Hazard jokingly claimed he could only score with his head.
The Spanish striker, the club’s record signing, has netted three times for the Blues in the Premier League, all with his head, which prompted Hazard to take a little dig at his new teammate.
‘Like you saw, I saw he is a good player,’ Hazard said earlier this week. ‘I saw that he scores with his head, now he needs to score with his feet!’
But Conte does not care how Morata is finishing his chances as long as he’s scoring, and will be hoping to see plenty more headed goals during Morata’s stay in west London.
‘I think it is right to score,’ said a slightly bemused Conte, unaware of the quotes.
‘I’m happy if he scores with his feet or his head. It’s not important. Or with chest! Or his back! It’s important to score and to try to improve himself every day.’
As well as scoring all his goals with his head, his two assists have also come via the same way, and Morata saw the funny side to Hazard’s message.
The Spaniard said: ‘At the moment, I’ve only scored and assisted with my head for Chelsea, so I hope to use my feet as well soon!’
Morata was left out of the Chelsea side that swept aside Qarabag on Tuesday night in the Champions League, though Conte intends to rotate his team once against for the league.
He continued: ‘My rotation is to make the best decision for every game and try to win. And don’t forget to win is very important for us.
‘The answer from my players in the last game was positive and I was pleased with the commitment.
‘Now there’s another tough game against Arsenal. Another day to check physical condition of my players and I try to make the best decision for the Arsenal game.’
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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte: I don’t care about Arsenal or Arsene Wenger
Chelsea host Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday seeking a fourth straight league win.
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They have not lost to the Gunners at home since 2011 but did go down 2-1 to their rivals in the Community Shield at Wembley last month.
Since then calls for Arsene Wenger to leave Arsenal have intensified as the north London club labour early on in their title challenge.
They have just six points from four games and were roundly beaten 4-0 by title rivals Liverpool before the international break.
But Conte isn’t interested in Wenger or his perilous situation at Arsenal and instead wants to focus on his own side.
“I don’t care nothing about Arsenal’s situation, I care about Chelsea’s,” Conte said in his pre-match press conference.
“When we talk about it we are unlucky.
“They will solve their problems, we will solve ours.”
Chelsea beat Leicester 2-1 last weekend and thrashed Qarabag in the Champions League 6-0 on Tuesday night.
Discussing Sunday’s 1.30pm kick off, Conte said: “They are a big rival, if you see their squad they have a lot of top players.
“I don’t understand why they can’t fight for the title, they lost only one player but kept all the rest.
“They have many top players.”
Arsenal played in the Europa League last night – beating Cologne 3-1 – meaning Chelsea have had two extra days to prepare for Sunday’s showdown.
But Conte insists that is not an advantage.
“I have watched the game Wenger rotated a lot of players and were rested for the game against us, it is not an advantage,” he said.
“Arsenal is one of the six top teams in England and I think they have a really good squad to fight for something important. The title, for sure.
“This is a massive game when you play against Arsenal.
“The same against City, United, Liverpool, Spurs. There are six top teams and when you play it is a massive game. We have to fight and play against a rival.”